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The Best Time to Buy a Car

You've decided to buy a car. Congratulations! But, when should you purchase so as to best take advantage of dealer incentives, cash rebates, and to obtain the lowest price? Dozens of theories exist, some logical, some silly. Here are some ideas to help you decide.

Rainy Days

The theory of getting better car pricing on rainy days has a grain of truth to it. Fewer customers on the car lot means that the salesperson is more likely to listen to your concerns and, perhaps, make price allowances in order to close the sale. Conversely, slogging through a muddy car lot shows that you're at least somewhat desperate to get a car.


The same theory applies to holidays, particularly winter holidays. December is a traditionally slower time for new car sales as consumers concentrate on holiday gifts and parties. Savvy dealers order fewer cars during this time, but by shopping around, you might find one with a large inventory on his hands.

Early in the Week

Weekends (Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays) are a car dealer's bread and butter. Most consumers have more time to shop for cars on the weekends when they're not at work. Often, on these days, consumers must wait just to talk to a salesperson. Most salespeople have weekly goals. On Monday and Tuesday, those crowded weekend days may seem light-years away. Shopping early in the week not only gets you more attention from the sales staff, but they might be more inclined to offer you a discount than they would be when there's a line at their door.

End of the Month

Most car dealers receive monthly bonuses from manufacturers for meeting set sales quotas. These quotas become important towards the end of the month if the dealership is a few cars short of qualifying for a bonus. If this is the case, the dealer might be more likely to sell you a car at a discount and make his extra money by getting the bonus.

End of the Model Year

As the new year's car models start to arrive at the dealership, the company is eager to get rid of the previous year's models. This is when you'll typically find low prices, cash rebates, low interest rates, and other dealer incentives. This is a great time to find a new car at the lowest price.

End of a Car's Design Cycle

Sometimes a car manufacturer completely redesigns a car and reintroduces it under the same name. Buying the original design just before the new design is rolled out can save you money. If you care more about reliable transportation than having the latest design and coolest gadgets, take advantage of some deep discounts by driving a previous design.

End of a Car's Lifecycle

When a car is discontinued completely, the dealers would like to get them off the lot to make room for new models. These cars are still new, but generally less desirable to buyers. You can expect much lower prices and aggressive dealer incentives to buy a discontinued car. Remember, however, that a discontinued model will generally have a
much lower resale value.

Keep these suggestions in mind when you are planning on buying a new car. Do your research. Most manufacturer's incentives and rebates are listed on the Internet. Enlist the services of a reputable car dealer. A good dealer knows what's good for you is good for him too.

Next: Pros and Cons of Buying Used Cars

The Best Time to Buy a Car 1
The Best Time to Buy a Car 2
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